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Montgomery backs fire training facility plan : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Montgomery backs fire training facility plan
Oswego Fire District planning structure adjacent to Orchard Rd. station

by Tony Scott


The Montgomery Village Board voiced support Tuesday evening for a proposed new training facility planned by the Oswego Fire Protection District.

Fire Chief Rick Neitzer appeared before the board to present the plans, which would include a structure that firefighters would use to train for working in smoke- and fire-filled structures.

Neitzer said the facility would be open for use to other fire protection districts serving the village.

The facility is planned for a site adjacent to the district's current Station 3, located just east of the Orchard Road and Galena Road intersection.

The site property is owned by the village, according to a memo from Village Senior Planner Jerad Chipman to Village President Matt Brolley and the Village Board.

District officials are requesting that the village either transfer or leave the property to the district.

To pay for the facility, Neitzer told the board that the district has received a $200,000 state capital improvement grant. He said they also received a $34,000 grant from the district's workman's compensation coverage provider, and are anticipating another $30,000 in grant money.

"That money does not cover the entire cost of this project, but that money does provide for the structure," he said.

Neitzer said the district plans to use their existing capital budget line item for building materials as well as landscaping. Those funds mostly come from impact or transition fees paid for by developers, he said.

Neitzer said the district picked the location adjacent to Station 3 because it was "the best for all five fire districts." Montgomery is served by the Bristol-Kendall, Aurora Township, Sugar Grove, and Montgomery-Countryside fire protection districts, in addition to the OFPD.

"We can all share this facility," he said.

Neitzer said firefighters for each district interact frequently on calls, so having the shared training facility would help with efficiency.

"There's a benefit to fire departments training together," he said.

The facility will be mostly used to simulate small, controlled fires, he said.

"We're not going to burn car tires in it," he said. "We'll burn straw, and we'll burn wood pallets. It's not a huge inferno. It's a small, controlled fire inside the structure."

Neitzer added, "We're trying to create real smoke in real fire conditions so that we can train."

Neitzer said he does not know when the facility will be built, but it depends on when they receive the money from the grant.

Board member Stan Bond said the facility proposal was "exciting" and "looks to be a real community asset." He asked if there would be a use for the facility for area police departments.

Neitzer said "absolutely." He said he has discussed the issue with Oswego Police Chief Dwight Baird, who supported using the facility.

"He got kind of excited about it, too," Neitzer said.

Neitzer said police agencies have used homes that firefighters were using for training to also train SWAT techniques - such as using "flash bangs" - and he anticipated this facility could be used for that as well.

Brolley said he supported the project.

"I think it's a great idea, and I appreciate you bringing that to Montgomery," he said.

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